Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano said disaster response has to go beyond delivering relief goods and must include rehabilitation as well, as he called on the Senate to pass the bill creating the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR).

Cayetano made the call as parts of Visayas and Mindanao continue to reel from the aftermath of Tropical Storm Agaton which left 212 people dead and 132 people missing, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (NDRRMC).

“Magaling na po tayo sa relief programs, pero sa rehabilitation at disaster management, mahina pa ho,” the veteran legislator said.

“I hope we don’t have to wait for the next Senate kasi meron pa namang ilang session days bago matapos po ang Kongresong ito.”

“I hope we don’t have to wait for the next Senate kasi meron pa namang ilang session days bago matapos po ang Kongresong ito,” the seasoned lawmaker added.

The storm affected more than 2.2 million people across nine regions of the country, leaving an estimated P1.3 billion in agricultural damage and another P6.9 million in damages to infrastructure.

The NDRRMC also reported that it has released more than P82 million in relief goods and other forms of assistance to those affected by “Agaton” as of April 24.

He also pointed out that having a single government agency in charge of disaster response in the country will ensure accountability.

“Yung Department of Disaster Resilience po ay napaka importante kasi kailangan po pagdating sa pagmi-mitigate ng mga disasters at tsaka pagdating po sa rehabilitation, may isang nagtuturo, may isang pong accountable, at isa pong nakatutok talaga dyan,” Cayetano stressed.

He said allowing government departments to take on too many tasks would lead to a lack of executive focus, which was the primary reason for devolving the former Department of Education, Culture and Sports into separate agencies for basic education, higher education, and technical education.

Cayetano recalled how multiple government agencies involved in disaster response have had to take on additional tasks during the pandemic.

“Ang mga departamento, hilong-hilo na rin sa kaka-multitasking.”

“Kasi, kita niyo po, may COVID na e, pero ang kalamidad po ba, ang sunog, ang bagyo, ang lindol, eto po ba ay tumitigil? Hindi. Pero ang mga departamento, hilong-hilo na rin sa kaka-multitasking,” he said.

Under House Bill No. 5989, the DDR will be the primary government agency responsible for leading, organizing, and managing the national effort to reduce disaster risk, prepare for and respond to disasters, recover and rehabilitate, and build forward better after the occurrence of disasters.

It would also oversee and coordinate the preparation, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of disaster and climate resilience plans, programs, projects, and activities, among others.


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